25 Feb Quantexa’s CEO Knows Hypergrowth Requires More Than Money
Founder credits VC expertise as financial analytics firm nears unicorn status
Melbourne, Australia – Feb. 25, 2022
In a market where enthusiastic investors are pumping massive amounts of funding into cutting-edge startups and scaleups, just getting that funding is only a small part of the challenge; even harder, said Vishal Marria, is getting the right expertise to spend it as effectively as possible.
That might seem counterintuitive for CEOs that are used to talking up their business ambitions to outshine rivals in the fight to win over venture capitalists.
But when it comes down to it, explains Marria — CEO of London, UK-based data-analytics star Quantexa — the biggest business value will come from the expertise and connections that come along with that money.
“The biggest advice I can give to any CEO is: do not just raise money because others are raising money,” he told Cybercrime Magazine.
“Raise money for incremental growth — and, more importantly, select the partner that will fit in with your vision.”
For Marria, finding that fit took four years and several funding rounds as he sought to rapidly expand Quantexa, which was founded in 2016 to close what Marria calls the “data decision gap” in investigations of money laundering and other financial crimes.
After eleven years of working in data and analytics “for some of the largest organizations on the planet,” he explained, “one of the fundamental challenges those clients had was that they collected billions of data elements across their enterprise.”
“The challenge was that they had this data, but they couldn’t drive meaning out of data to make those trusted decisions. We started Quantexa with the full mission to close this gap with what we call contextual decision intelligence [CDI].”
The CDI approach uses AI to scour data stores for relationships between real-world entities and the data they relate to — identifying relevant features and patterns that can help drive the decision-making of analysts, experts, executives, operational teams, and other functional teams.
CDI has resonated with investigators working in anti-money laundering, forensic investigations, 360-degree customer views, criminal fraud detection, and other areas — and its success has led Quantexa to expand outside of financial crime into government, healthcare, telecommunications, and insurance sectors.
Finding the right partner
By 2020 the company was already enjoying “hypergrowth,” Marria said, when he was introduced to Richard Seewald, founder and managing partner at Evolution Equity Partners, through board member Nick Donofrio — a 44-year IBM veteran who joined Quantexa in 2017 after its first, $3.3 million Series A fundraising.
Having helped complete a $22.7 million Series B round in August 2018, in 2020 Donofrio facilitated an introduction with Seewald — which, like so many relationships as the pandemic unfolded, was conducted over Zoom.
So, too, was the planning and execution of Quantexa’s Series C funding round, which ultimately secured $64.7 million in funding with support from Evolution Equity Partners, Dawn Capital, AlbionVC, HSBC, British Patient Capital, ABN AMRO Ventures, and Accenture Ventures.
Seewald’s broad and deep expertise supported that process, and last July his continuing engagement with Quantexa helped the company lock in a $153 million Series D session that valued the company at just shy of $1 billion.
Today, Quantexa has over 450 employees supporting more than 10,000 end users, with offices in New York, London, Brussels, Singapore, and Sydney.
And while such growth may have eventually materialized otherwise, Marria believes the support of like-minded investors like Seewald has not only helped the company grow, but also shaped company culture for productive long-term growth.
“Select the partner that you have that chemistry with,” he explained, “and ask yourself: will this partner provide me with incremental experience to my management team? Will they provide incremental access in the markets?”
“I am privileged that I stand here today with some of the best investors, who are part of the Quantexa journey and true partners with me on my mission.”
– David Braue is an award-winning technology writer based in Melbourne, Australia.
Go here to read all of David’s Cybercrime Magazine articles.
Evolution Equity Partners is an international venture capital investor partnering with exceptional entrepreneurs to develop market-leading cyber-security and enterprise software companies.
Based in New York City and Zurich, Switzerland, the firm is managed by investment and technology entrepreneurs who have built companies around the world and leverage their operating, technical and product development expertise to help entrepreneurs win.
Evolution has interest in companies utilizing big-data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, SaaS, mobile and the convergence of consumer and enterprise software to build leading information technology companies.